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China flanks Taiwan with military exercises in air and sea

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Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its escorts were maneuvering around Taiwan, the Chinese military said in a statement on Monday.

“It was a routine training exercise organized in accordance with the annual work plan to test the effectiveness of troop training and strengthen their capacity to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.” , states the statement.

Meanwhile, at least ten People’s Liberation Army warplanes, including four J-16 fighter jets and four J-10 fighter jets, one Y-8 anti-submarine warfare and one KJ-early warning aircraft 500, entered the Taiwan Declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), according to the Taiwan Ministry of Defense.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration defines an ADIZ as “a designated area of ​​airspace over land or water within which a country requires the immediate and positive identification, location, and control of aircraft air traffic. in the interests of the national security of the country “.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said it had a “full understanding” of the situation and that it was “properly handling” the matter, Reuters reported.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of nearly 24 million people located on the southeast coast of mainland China, even though the two sides have been ruled separately for more than seven decades.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that Beijing will never allow the island to become independently formal and has refused to rule out the use of force, if necessary, to reclaim the island.

Tensions over Taiwan have been heating up in recent months as Taipei has secured US support in the form of new military equipment, an agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan Coast Guard, and strong statements of support from the United States. administration of the President of the United States, Joe Biden.

“We are committed to deepening ties with Taiwan,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Ned Price said last week.

Last month, after talks with Japanese leaders and diplomats, He warned U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Washington and Tokyo were willing to back down against Chinese threats to stability and order in Asia.

“China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undermine democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law Blinken said.

“We will step back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to make its way.”

A “warning” from Beijing

China’s maneuvers on Monday demonstrated its military superiority over Taiwan, Shi Hong, chief executive of China’s Shipborne Weapons magazine, said in a Global Times report.

“The exercise showed that the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) is able to surround the island of Taiwan, isolate its troops and leave them instead of running and have no chance of winning if circumstances arise,” said Shi.

The exercises also sent a message to both the United States and Japan, Shi added. Because U.S. and Japanese military interventions would likely come from the east, China, by exercising its carrier group there, demonstrated that it could cut that aid, Shi said.

Western analysts said China showed no new capability in Monday’s exercises.

In fact, a Chinese carrier in the open Pacific could play with one of the U.S. Navy’s strengths: its nuclear-powered attack (SSN) submarines, said Thomas Shugart, a senior member of the Center for a New American Security and former United States Navy Captain.

“A Chinese carrier operating in eastern Taiwan is not particularly valuable for use as such, as it could be quite vulnerable operating so far – in SSN-infested deep waters and beyond the integrated air defense / umbrella. SAM from China, ”Shugart said.

But the Chinese military made a political statement, analysts said.

“It is intended as a warning to Taiwanese and other people that Beijing sees as undermining their interests, especially Americans,” said Collin Koh, a researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

Koh notes that a group of PLA Navy carriers has operated in eastern Taiwan at least twice before.

And the presence of large number of PLA aircraft in ADIZ Taiwan it is becoming more common.
In late March, 20 PLA ​​warplanes entered Taiwan’s ADIZ in one day, according to the Taiwan Ministry of Defense. Is the highest number since last year, when Taiwan began airing almost daily flights of Chinese aircraft into its airspace.

This Chinese activity is expected to continue. The PLA said in a statement that carrier operations such as Monday would be conducted on a regular basis.

The American carrier operates in the South China Sea

While the Chinese carrier was exercising in front of Taiwan, a strike group of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers was conducting its own operations. in the South China Sea.

The 7th U.S. Fleet said the USS Theodore Roosevelt and his escorts entered the South China Sea on Sunday to conduct routine operations, Roosevelt’s second visit in the area this year.
A U.S. Navy Super Hornet F / A-18E lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on April 5, 2021, during operations in the South China Sea.

“It is fantastic to return to the South China Sea to reassure our allies and partners that we remain committed to the freedom of the seas,” Doug Verissimo, commander of the Carrier Strike Group Nine, said in a statement.

“While in the South China Sea, the strike group will conduct fixed and rotating wing flight operations, maritime strike exercises, anti-submarine operations, coordinated tactical training and more,” the statement said. the seventh fleet.

Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square kilometers of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory and in recent years has built military fortifications on several islands.

The presence of foreign military forces such as the strike group of American aircraft carriers is said to foster tensions in the region.

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